Investing in Healthy People for a Healthier BC: Province Announces $4M in Funding to Create More Affordable Physical Activities to Get More People Moving

BC Alliance for Healthy Living (BCAHL) applauds the Ministry of Health’s $4 million investment in physical activity. Through this funding, more communities will have access to inclusive physical activity opportunities which will make a significant contribution towards improving the health and well-being of people across British Columbia.

Physical activity has been recognized as one of the most effective ways to decrease the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancers.

Even at low levels, physical activity is beneficial as it promotes positive mental health, can improve mood in chronically stressed adults and prevent the onset of depression.

Physical activity opportunities also create social connections by bringing people together in shared experiences that are often fun, challenging and rewarding. This can create a sense of belonging which is so important at a time when loneliness is on the rise.

This new investment will build on the work started by BCAHL and many provincial leaders to support the B.C. Physical Activity Strategy, Active People, Active Places. Phase 1 initiatives funded by the Ministry of Health built strong foundations, capacity and reach resulting in 52,746 ‘hard to reach’ British Columbians participating in 1,278 physical activity opportunities in over 52 communities.

These initiatives helped British Columbians who typically face barriers to being physically active, supporting healthy living, social connections and mental wellness.  

This new funding from the Ministry of Health means BCAHL will be able to partner with more communities to support and promote healthy living through the following initiatives:

  1. Building on the success of the first iteration of the Active Communities Grant Program, which gave local governments the resources to increase or expand physical activity opportunities in their communities, BCAHL will continue this work to ensure more communities have access to equitable physical activities that fit with local needs.
  2. BCAHL will be working towards increasing after-school active play opportunities for children with a focus on school districts and communities where there is a gap in active after-school programs. The goal of this initiative is to work with parents and school communities to create supportive environments for children to play and be active.
  3. BCAHL, in partnership with the BC Parks and Recreation Association (BCRPA), will be launching a curriculum to train and support recreation staff and physical activity leaders to develop inclusion policies, and create inclusive environments and programs in their organizations. This initiative will work on increasing inclusion, participation rates, activity levels and satisfaction of people from marginalized and less active groups, including Indigenous and racialized communities, newcomers, LGBTQ2SI and people with low incomes or disabilities. This training program is a continuation of the work that led to the creation of the EverybodyMoves Resource Hub which is a collection of resources that support inclusion and equity in the sport, recreation and physical activity spaces.
  4. BCAHL will continue to convene the Physical Activity for Health Collaborative, which is comprised of leaders in physical activity from academia, sport, recreation, and health. Together, we will work to coordinate efforts to increase physical activity among those who face barriers to being active.

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